“With every crucial delay, with every blunder and misstep, the toll is going to be measured in lives lost.” Dipti S. Barot is a primary care doctor in the San Francisco Bay area.
“Our heroes out the in the field will not be derelict in their duties though they have been forced to compromise their safety by those who continue to sit in their insular cocoons and suffer no consequences.”
I am a doctor. And I am immunocompromised. I am safe at home screening patients over the phone for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while my colleagues are marching into war with plastic water guns and paper-mâché bombs, lambs to the COVID-19 slaughter.
They are entreating people to stay at home, begging for personal protective equipment via Twitter hashtags (#GetMePPE), fashioning masks out of surgical sheets, rigging ventilators to increase their capacity as the number of confirmed cases keeps increasing. Some are living in the garage or in a separate room in their home, for fear of infecting their loved ones.
We health care workers are, and have been, on our own. We are making decisions hospital by hospital because there is no centralized response or clear guidelines.
Each day we get more reports of health care workers infected, hospitalized, and dying all over the world. This week we lost the brilliant Dr. Steven Schwartz to COVID-19 in Seattle. Others will follow. They will continue to die because of the inaction of their leaders. Their lives will end because factories were not taken over by their governments to manufacture test kits and personal protective equipment in time.
They will die because they are putting their limp, used masks in little brown paper bags after their 12-hour shift, to be used again tomorrow; they are wiping down their lone allotted face shields with disinfectant, or wrapping them in saran wrap, and cutting plastic Coke bottles to make new ones. They will inadvertently infect their patients because they are reusing disposable gowns, and MacGyver-ing equipment to make do with what they have to serve as many they can. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance about how to use bandanas and scarves to deal with the dearth.
Our heroes out the in the field will not be derelict in their duties — even if they have been forced to compromise their safety by those who continue to sit in their insular cocoons and suffer no consequences. It is criminal what is being done. And beyond criminal what is not being done.
It is criminal what is being done. And beyond criminal what is not being done.
Contact your local senators and congressman … tell them we need COVID-19 test kits. Unless you are rich and/or famous the likelihood of you receiving a test is less than one percent.